The Uncanny Valley
Ayiter, Elif (2008) The Uncanny Valley. In: Consciousness Reframed 9: New Realities: Being Syncretic A Transdisciplinary Inquiry Into Art, Science, Technology and Society, Vienne (Accepted/In Press)
Official URL: http://cr9.dieangewandte.at/
The island Syncretia, situated in the metaverse of Second Life is the future home of ground<c>, a metaverse learning environment, dedicated to the enablement of creativity and inspired primarily by ''The Groundcourse'' ; Roy Ascott's art educational methodology developed and practiced during the 1960's. Combining cybernetics and constructivist educational theory, The Groundcourse devised a flexible structure, “within which everything can find its place and every individual his way”. The outcome was a 2 year art foundation course, the aim of which was to create an environment which would “enable the student to become aware of himself and the world, while enabling him to give dimension and substance to his will to create and change”, achieved through a drastic breaking down of preconceptions related to self, art and creativity. Thus the operative tenet that was employed was one of providing an environment that fostered the rethinking of preconceptions, prejudices and fixations with regards to self, society, personal/social limitations, art and all the ensuing relationships through a carefully thought out, coordinated and orchestrated range of assignments and exercises that entailed behavioral modification and indeed change. The basic premises of ground<c>, as well as a detailed description of the Groundcourse have been reported on by the author in prior publications  and will thus not be delved into further at the present time. What this paper proposes to focus upon instead is a specialized area within the overall research, involving Presence and Cyberpsychology as well as the findings of Robotics, specifically the concept of the “Uncanny Valley” in the creation of avatars.
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